Survival rations won't satisfy Hodgson hunger

Fulham manager Roy Hodgson has told his chairman Mohamed Al Fayed that professional pride and not the promise of a bonus will drive the final push for survival.

Hodgson will reportedly pocket an extra £1m (€1.2m) if he keeps the club in the Barclays Premier League by masterminding victory at Portsmouth tomorrow.

Al Fayed has also promised the players a £5,000 (€6,312) Harrods hamper full of caviar, champagne and Viagra if they succeed in escaping relegation.

But Hodgson insists financial incentives would make no difference to him or his players as completing a stunning escape act would be the ultimate prize.

“The chairman’s view of the subject is pretty much like my own – we are paid to do a job. And our job is to play football and win matches,” he said.

“He pays us well to do that. There are no players here who can complain about their salary and their reward.

“All of us want to ply our trade in the Premier League rather than the Championship – that is the biggest incentive we can get.

“Footballers at this club play for pride. They get good cash – and good luck to them.

“They provide good entertainment and cash is being generated by their efforts. They are entitled to the rewards, so I don’t begrudge them one penny.

“But in my experience of top-level football I’ve not come across a situation where I’ve had players who have only been motivated by money, with the thought of a bonus spurring them on.

“It has only been the thought of a victory that has spurred them on.

“In particular, the victory in this game could be so sweet and could give us such rewards that any financial extras would be superfluous.”

Al Fayed has been a regular visitor to the training ground in recent weeks and delivered the team talk before last weekend’s crucial 2-0 victory over Birmingham.

With relegation to the Championship thought to cost £35m, the colourful Egyptian has been pulling out all the stops to protect his investment in the club.

Striker Erik Nevland admits the players are aware of the financial implications but instead choose to focus on what they can achieve on the pitch.

“We don’t think about what it will cost if we go down. What we think about is how we are going to do our best,” he said.

“That is the most important thing. Whatever happens, happens. You can’t think about all those consequences or you will go mad. We just have to concentrate on the football.”

Nevland has been used sparingly since his £1.8m arrival from FC Groningen in January but has recently carved out a niche as a super-sub.

The Norway marksman has stepped off the bench to score two goals in the last four games and has begun to feel comfortable in his new surroundings.

“I’m happy that I can make a contribution really because I had a really bad spell in March were I just didn’t feel good and my form was bad,” he said.

“There was the transfer and settling in – there were a lot of things playing a role in my form.

“Obviously it’s great to get out of that and to get back into contention and to contribute to the team.

“In the last few games I feel that I have had a good impact when I have come on, and that is a good feeling.”

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